Of the making of versions of the Triumph effect there is no end. Here’s one of the latest – Michael O’Brien’s in the hands triumph – Tour de Force. It is the familiar effect – a deck of cards is mixed face up and face down and then in an instant rights itself with the exception of a previously chosen card which is now reversed in the deck.

Initial impressions were not good due to a slightly clunky DVD interface – I don’t know whether I’m just from the dark ages, but it wasn’t entirely obvious what the controls did at first. But once we’d got over that things got a little better.

michael obrien - tour de force - reviewOne of the key elements in making a Triumph type effect convincing is the display where you show the cards are mixed face up and face down. I’ve seen many versions of this over the years, and although this isn’t the most convincing display, it is a pretty good compromise for the ease.

Indeed, if you’ve ever been put off performing the triumph effect due to the level of sleight of hand needed we have good news – this is very easy to do. And, which may be its biggest selling point, it can be done entirely in the hands, which makes it much more flexible for many working environments.

Variations on a theme

The DVD also teaches a number of variations. There’s an impromptu version – without any special cards or set-up – which may be the most useful version on the disk.

Tour de Four-Ace – is the same basic effect but instead of choosing a card at the outset, after the mixing process it is the 4 aces which are found to be face up in a face down deck.

Croque Monsieur – guess what? – this is a ‘sandwich’ variation – where the jokers capture the chosen card.

Neighborhood Watch – multiple selection (or ‘collectors’) version with slightly cute story about a house burglary and 4 kings (neighbourhood watch members) who catch 3 selections (burglars).

Tribute to Vernon – this is a tabletop shuffle variation.

Heckler – this is the normal effect but with the classic ‘magician v. heckler’ patter and a new deck order kicker finish.

The DVD also has an extra feature going into some detail on the Faro shuffle – a kind of mini tutorial.

So was it a Tour de Force?

I was slightly underwhelmed by the performance slots. They were filmed in some kind of bar [correction according to the end credits it’s a bakery!] – but it was all fairly atmosphere-less. To be fair I had some sympathy for the audience since they basically watched the same trick about 5 times.

On the other hand all the explanation sections were very clear and at a helpful pace. My only real gripe was the lack of any proper crediting – which for an effect like Triumph feels essential. There was an ‘influences’ page on the end credits, but that doesn’t really do the job for me.

All in all, I think this is a good little routine. It is a very accessible entry to the Triumph genre if you don’t yet perform this classic effect. If you’ve already got a favourite version, this is unlikely to displace it, but nonetheless worth a look.

Tour de Force is available direct from Merchant of Magic for £18.50 (at the time of writing).

Review copy kindly provided by Murphys Magic to whom dealer enquiries should be directed.

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